Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 08, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton recorded back-to-back away wins for the first time since November, as they beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Wanderers started well and stormed into a two-goal lead inside the opening 15 minutes, as Neil Danns and Joe Mason both struck to put the visitors in complete control.

David Cotterill reduced the deficit three minutes later, but neither side was able to add to their tally - as Bolton held on to extend a run which has seen them lose just once in their last 11 games.

Dougie Freedman made one change to the side that won at Huddersfield Town, with Saturday's matchwinner, Mason, taking the place of Liam Trotter as Wanderers started in a 4-4-2 formation.

The visitors started the game well and could have been ahead inside two minutes. Mason managed to evade the offside trap but was hesitant in his approach play, with the Rovers defenders doing enough to crowd him out before he could get in a shot at goal.

They didn't have to wait long to open the scoring, however, as the first goal of the evening arrived with just seven minutes on the clock. Alan Hutton did well down the right-hand side and he cut the ball back for the waiting Danns, who drilled home from the edge of the box.

Doncaster fought back and came close to an immediate leveller when Paul Keegan headed straight at Adam Bogdan from a corner, but they soon found themselves two goals down as Wanderers hit them on the break.

Mason was given too much time and space down the right and after cutting inside, his shot flashed across the face of Sam Johnstone's goal and in off the post.

Rovers reduced the deficit three minutes later, as an innocuous looking free-kick from Cotterill caught the Bolton defence and goalkeeper flat-footed - finding the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Lukas Jutkiewicz would have restored Bolton's two-goal cushion, but for the intervention of Johnstone, before the home goalkeeper did superbly well to tip a Zat Knight header over the crossbar from the resulting corner.

Keegan and Cotterill both came close to equalising as the game approached the half-hour, before Jay Spearing and Jutkiewicz were both denied at the other end by Johnstone.

Richie Wellens had to be replaced in the 35th minute, just moments after he brought Bogdan into action, while Mason was denied at the other end as both sides went in search of the next goal.

Keegan volleyed over the bar in the latter stages of the half, before Bogdan did well to stop a header from Chris Brown, as Bolton took a 2-1 lead into the half-time break.

There were no changes to either side at the interval and it was the hosts who created the first chance of the second period, but Dean Furman was denied a clear one-on-one opportunity by a superbly timed sliding challenge from David Wheater.

Billy Sharp headed narrowly wide in the 56th minute, before Jutkiewicz brought Johnstone into a low stop with a drive from distance.

Bolton survived penalty appeals when James Husband went down under a challenge from Medo Kamara on the hour, before the majority of the game began to be played in midfield.

Gabriel Tamas came on for the injured Lucas Neill, while Trotter replaced Mason for Wanderers.

With the game now in the final 20 minutes, Johnstone did well to deny Danns before repeating his heroics to make a save from a powerful Wheater header.

Brown was inches away from turning home a cross from Tamas with two minutes to go, but it was Bolton who looked the more likely goalscorers in the closing stages and they should have added to their total.

Jermaine Beckford, on as a substitute for Lee Chung-Yong, fired wide in a one-on-one situation, before Danns opted for glory in the final minute but could only succeed in slicing his shot wide of the target.

Despite those glaring stoppage time misses, Bolton held on to record back-to-back away wins for the first time since November and extend their unbeaten record away from home to six matches - marking their best run since September 2005.

Wanderers return to action on Saturday, when relegation-threatened Barnsley are the visitors to the Reebok Stadium.

Doncaster Rovers: Johnstone, Quinn, Neill (Tamas 65), Meite, Husband, Coppinger, Keegan, Wellens (Furman 34), Cotterill, Brown, Sharp
Subs Not Used: Duffy, Maxted, de Val, Robinson, Stevens
Goals: Cotterill 18
Booked: Husband

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Hutton, Knight, Wheater, Ream, Spearing, Kamara, Chung-Yong (Beckford 88), Danns, Jutkiewicz, Mason (Trotter 67)
Subs Not Used: Mills, Hall, Moritz, Baptiste, Lonergan
Goals: Danns 7, Mason 15
Booked: Danns

Referee: Gary Sutton
Attendance: 7,508

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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19 Oldham Athletic 6 4
20 Bolton Wanderers 6 4
21 Scunthorpe United 6 4
22 Barrow AFC 6 3
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